The January transfer window is fast approaching, and with it comes a chance for Premier League clubs to improve for the second half of the season. More often than not, the biggest and best teams in England remain fairly calm during the January window, having already put together groups to finish the season with. But this season we’re presented with a somewhat-unique scenario, in that new manager Jurgen Klopp may just be looking to retool a Liverpool squad desperate to get back to the top of the competition.
Thus far, Klopp’s time at Liverpool has brought about mixed results. He’s yet to get the club on any kind of consistent streak, though he’s also avoided major losses or slumps. Things may even be looking up of late given that the Reds just dismantled league-leading Manchester City by a 1-4 score at the Etihad. Still, many expect Klopp to take a fairly active approach to the transfer window, as it’s his first chance to begin assembling his own club. Just this week, ex-Tottenham player Jermaine Jenas articulated what many in football have suspected: top players may take join Liverpool because they believe in Klopp. Anfield has been less of a draw in the past few seasons than it once was, but the idea that Klopp can get the most out of his players could quickly turn things around and make Liverpool a prime destination once more.
It’s worth noting that this line of thinking doesn’t actually add up particularly well with Klopp’s own history as a manager. If anything, his record at Borussia Dortmund reveals that he has never paid much attention to the January transfer window—and he hasn’t had any noteworthy success in it. In fact, Klopp has sanctioned just three January deals since the start of the decade, and none of them made a particularly big splash. But this shouldn’t necessarily have any bearing on what happens at Anfield this January. As a club, Liverpool has actually had some remarkable success making deals over the winter, and Klopp is now in an entirely different situation than the one at Dortmund.
It seems a virtual certainty that Klopp and the rest of the management will make a run at a few impact players. And even this close to the opening of the window, it’s difficult to sort through rumours and assign any kind of likelihood to a potential deal. That being said, here are some of the names being linked to Klopp’s shortlist.
It’s hard to say if the German defender is the most or least realistic transfer target for Liverpool. On the one hand, Hummels is often the subject of such speculation, and there tends to be nothing of consequence going on. However, there are some reports this time around that Hummels is feeling overburdened at Borussia Dortmund, and may favour reuniting with his former manager at Anfield. Interest goes two ways, as Liverpool bossJurgen Klopp is keen on completing a transfer of Mats Hummels from German giant.
Only 23 years old and enjoying a wonderful campaign for Empoli, Saponara would be a very significant acquisition for Liverpool. Rumour has it Klopp is determined to sign Saponara over the winter, though Empoli seems more likely to sell him once the 2015/16 season is over. The young Italian star would add a new dynamic to the Liverpool attack that could prove immediately beneficial.
Boufal has become the most significant player linked to Liverpool heading into the winter season. Having been branded as “the new Eden Hazard” due to some similarities of style and circumstance, Boufal is coming into his own in Ligue 1 at age 22. And it is believed that Liverpool are hoping to capitalise on their good relationship with Lille to bring the young midfielder to the Premier League. Boufal may in fact not have quite the immediate impact of Hummels or Saponara, but as one of the brightest young stars in Europe, he’d signify that Klopp will indeed be competing for top players at Liverpool.
These are the top names attached to Liverpool regarding the January window. They’re also the ones that make the most sense—and the most possible. However it all pans out, it appears to be all but certain that Klopp will attempt to make it an active winter.